Progress in 2012: State of the Town Address Was Well-received

There wasn’t the usual pomp and circumstance that “State of the City” addresses generate elsewhere such as in our neighboring communities of Boston and Revere, but Town Council President Peter Gill’s “State of the Town” message (as Mr. Gill called it) certainly packed a lot of information into it. The way President Gill just matter-of-factly jumped into such an important address near the close of the Council meeting speaks well of the humble and low-key approach that he has adopted in his first year as council president.

Gill showed that he is certainly very proud of the many accomplishments in the town of the past year and credit for that has to go Town Manager James McKenna,  department heads, public safety forces, town employees, and the nine-member Town Council that Gill presided over in 2012.

Gill spoke of “the overall improvement in the cleanliness and appearance of the town and the playground/parks improvement” and DPW Director Steve Calla, who was in the audience, had to feel proud of the praise that the Council president was extending to his department.

Of course, Gill noted the exciting possibility of a new middle/high school complex in the town’s future, which will likely be the most talked about story of the year leading up to the town’s vote on the project.

Our town continued to move in a positive direction in the past year and the improved partnerships between the schools and other town departments, as Gill alluded to in his remarks, is obvious to our townspeople. With Peter Gill and James McKenna leading the way, Winthrop indeed had a very good year.

POWERS DID THE RIGHT THING: Councilor-at-Large yielded to his colleagues on school issue

There was certainly high drama at Tuesday night’s Council meeting after Councilor James Letterie, a member of the School Building Assistance Committee, made a motion seeking the support of the Town Council for one of the options for the new school project. We totally understood Councilor Larry Powers’s initial objection and his desire to postpone the vote until the SBAC made its final choice for the school project.

Powers said he wanted to know which option would be forthcoming before he cast his vote. The former Winthrop Fire Chief made it clear that he supports the construction of a new school in Winthrop and even used the word “deplorable” to describe the condition of the (middle and high) schools in town. Powers has always done his homework on the issues and his leadership of the council’s casino committee has been outstanding and has placed the town in a good position when and if Suffolk Downs gets the official go-ahead to start its $1 billion casino/resort project.

Realizing that there is a tight timetable for school construction and that the SBAC, led by Mary Lou Osborne and David Dockendorf, has put so many months of work into the school construction proposal, Powers (who graciously had allowed his motion to be debated) took it a step further and withdrew his motion. He held his ground and cast the lone dissenting vote against the motion, but he made his point well.

POLICE CHIEF PRESENTATION ENLIGHTENING: Chief Delehanty talks about experience at FBI Aacademy

As expected, Police Chief Terence Delehanty’s presentation about his 11 weeks of training and education at the FBI National Academy was informative and professionally done. Delehanty had the great experience of attending the nation’s foremost law enforcement training academy and the knowledge he acquired and the contacts he made are already helping him in his day-to-day administration of our police department. The councillors offered some good questions such as Craig Mael’s inquiry about the impact of casinos on neighboring towns and Delehanty was able to elaborate on his discussions with law enforcement leaders from Norwich, Connecticut and Niagara Falls, New York, two communities that are in the direct vicinity of casinos.

Delehanty also spoke of the medical marijuana (it is now legal in Massachusetts) issue and his conversations with police leaders from Colorado, a state that has legalized recreational marijuana use.

Chief Delehanty certainly impressed all at the Council meeting and those watching the meeting on WCAT with the summary of his experience at the FBI Academy. Our chief is highly respected in the law enforcement field and his graduation from the FBI Academy served to enhance his excellent reputation.

Coach Melissa Wiles and her very talented group of gymnasts hopewho are sure to provide a and her team large croroley teams

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